Cosmetic treatment of telogen effluvium with a caffeine shampoo

Conducted at the Center for Cosmetic Research at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy

Telogen effluvium (TE) is the most frequent type of hair loss in women aged 30 to 50. It is characterized by excessive hair loss across the entire head without a certain pattern and coincides with the start of a diffuse alopecia. The cause of TE is a changed hair cycle in which 7 to 25% of the hair follicles prematurely go from the growth phase (anagen) into the resting phase (telogen).
The change in the hair cycle can have various triggers that occur concurrently or consecutively. Such triggers are e.g. the start of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), hormonal changes, stress, medication, weight loss, deficiencies, systemic or chronic diseases, or surgery. With TE, we distinguish between acute (<4 months), chronic (>4 months) and chronic recurring hair loss. Acute and recurring TE show a subsequent regeneration of the hair follicle, while a chronic TE is associated with a steady reduction of the hair growth phase (anagen) and therefore shortening and thinning of the hair fiber. To the present day, there is no effective, clinically tested remedy against stress-related TE. However, it was recently shown that caffeine has a favorable impact on the hair growth of AGA patients.


With the help of 30 healthy women suffering from stress-related TE, the skin tolerability, efficacy on hair loss and cosmetic quality of a caffeine-containing shampoo (Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo) was tested at the Institute of Dermatology at Catholic University, Rome. The test subjects were of suitable age (18 to 40 years, average age of 31) and were selected according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trial. The shampoo was applied under normal conditions at home once a day for six months, massaged into the scalp and hair for two minutes and subsequently rinsed out.

Skin tolerability and cosmetic efficacy and quality were assessed at the start as well as after three and six months. In addition, a test subject questionnaire and a dermatological questionnaire were filled out after three and six months of application.


Over the course of the trial, no sensitivity or intolerance reactions were determined. The assessment of the cosmetic properties and the efficacy of the Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo was made by measuring the hair resistance by a hair pulling test at the start as well as after three and six months of application. Especially after six months, a reduction in the hairs pulled was observed in 57% of the test subjects compared to the start of the trial.

An improvement in the intensity of hair loss, a normalization of hair loss, a significant decrease in the hairs lost during daily combing and an improvement in the hair strength as compared to the start of the application was also noticed from the test subject questionnaire.

Taut sensations and dryness of the scalp were also significantly reduced after six months, while scalp itch only improved somewhat. A total of 67% percent of users were very satisfied with the product after six months and would recommend it to others.

According to statements by the investigator of the clinical trial, hair strength, the extent of hair loss, the development of hair thinning and the condition of the scalp improved within the six months. An improvement of hair loss was observed more quickly (after as little as three months) than the decrease of hair thinning, which takes longer due to the regeneration of the hair root (apparent after six months).


The caffeine in Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo can penetrate via the hair follicle, thereby stimulating and promoting hair growth. This trial proved the very good skin tolerability and the good cosmetic efficacy of Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo for stress-related telogen effluvium.

The hair pulling test for hair resistance proved a decrease of hair loss in 57% percent of the participants after six months. Simultaneously, hair strength and the development of hair thinning also improved. As a result, 67% of the test subjects were very satisfied with the product and would recommend it to others. In summary, Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo is a valuable product for application in cases of female hair loss.

Source: Cosmetic treatment of telogen effluvium with a caffeine shampoo T. Sisto, C. Bussoletti, L. Celleno, J. Appl. Cosmetol. 2013, 31, 139-145.